Poland halts building of motorway before EU ruling
( Reuters ) - Poland will not resume the construction of a motorway through a protected wildlife area to allow a European court to rule on the project, Poland's prime minister said on Tuesday.
The European Commission asked the European Court of Justice on Monday to order Poland to halt preparatory work through the northeastern Rospuda Valley, which is known for its peat bogs and is home to rare plants and animals.
"There is no way to stop the European Commission. At this moment we need to show restraint to win the process," Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in a radio interview.
"After a victory we will be able to return to this construction."
Warsaw had suspended the construction of a viaduct over Rospuda until Aug. 1 due to a bird nesting season in the region.
Kaczynski said Poland will, in the meantime, work on other sections of the international highway linking Warsaw to Helsinki via the Baltic states.
The Commission wants the work halted until the court delivers a final verdict on whether the motorway construction in the area is compatible with strict EU environmental laws. Warsaw insists it is breaking no EU rules.
The area is recognised by Brussels as having special environmental interest and has protected status under the EU's Natura 2000 network of conservation sites.
Residents of Augustow blocked an artery through the town until the early morning on Tuesday to pressure Poland's conservative government to continue supporting the project. They say it would allow heavy lorries to bypass their town.